Is it Worth it to Restore Old Wood Cabinets?

Are your wood cabinets looking a little dingy? Restoring wood cabinets can give them new life and bring back the luster they once had.

That said, restoring old wood cabinets isn’t always worth the effort.

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • Ways to restore wood cabinets
  • Benefits of restoring instead of replacing wood cabinets
  • When to replace instead of restore wood cabinets

We’ll go over each topic in more detail.


Want to update your old cabinets? Contact us online or call 480-641-9611. One of our cabinet experts will come to your home for a same-day, no-obligation quote refinish or reface your wood cabinets.


Ways to Restore Wood Cabinets

You have several options for restoring wood cabinets. The best one for you depends on whether you want to:

  • Remove minor scratches, blemishes, and fading. You can actually do this on your own with a product called Restor-A-Finish. The product uses a simple wipe-on, wipe-off process and comes in 9 colors to match any wood cabinet finish. For best results, make sure to clean your wood cabinets before using Restor-A-Finish.
    • Cost: $10–$15
    • Restoration lifespan: 2–4 years
  • Refinish your cabinets with a new color. Whether you want a new wood finish color or want to revitalize your existing one, a cabinet refinishing will make your old wood cabinets look brand new. Refinishing involves stripping your existing cabinet boxes, doors, and drawer fronts of their finish and applying the new finish you choose.
    • Cost: $2,000 to $10,000
    • Restoration lifespan: 10+ years
  • Change the cabinet style and finish color. If you’re looking to change the style of your door and drawer panels and go with something a bit more modern, a cabinet refacing allows you to do so. This process involves everything included in a refinishing, except you also get brand-new door and drawer panels.
    • Cost: $5,000 to $15,000
    • Restoration lifespan: 10–30 years

Learn more about the cost to refinish cabinets and the cost to reface cabinets.

Now, we’ll go over the benefits of restoring your old wood cabinets.

Benefits of Restoring Instead of Replacing Wood Cabinets

Compared to replacing your old wood cabinets, restoring them allows you to:

  • Save a significant amount of money. New cabinets can cost upwards of $50,000, while restoring wood cabinets (as we outlined above) costs much less. Depending on which method of restoration you choose to go with, you’ll save yourself anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Have great-looking cabinets for decades. If your wood cabinets are only a few years old, they likely have decades of life left in them. By restoring them, you’ll keep them looking great for years more. That said, if you choose the minimal restoration option, you may need to clean and maintain your cabinets more frequently or even apply Restor-A-Finish again in a few years to keep them looking nice.
  • Boost your home’s value. A cabinet refinishing and, even more so, a cabinet refacing will add value to your home. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are usually one of the first things potential home buyers look at when shopping for houses. They’re more likely to choose a home with updated, nice-looking cabinets than they are a house they’re going to have to sink thousands of dollars into restoring cabinets. Plus, a cabinet refacing usually has a high return on investment, which means you’ll get back most of the money you spent when you go to sell your home.

Your wood cabinets have to be in solid shape to support either a refinishing or refacing—otherwise, you’re better off replacing them.

When to Replace Instead of Restore Wood Cabinets

Since refinishing and refacing wood cabinets involves using your existing cabinet boxes, you’re usually better off replacing instead of restoring wood cabinets when they:

  • Have structural damage. The finish on wood cabinets usually starts peeling, cracking, or bubbling because the wood base has begun to warp or deteriorate. When you refinish or reface wood cabinets with structural damage, you’re putting a temporary bandage on the root problem, which means you’ll start seeing the same finish problems very soon after the application.
  • Have pungent odors. Wood cabinets can absorb the various odors from your kitchen or bathroom over the years. Restoring the wood cabinet won’t eliminate the smell, since you’re keeping the same cabinets with a refinishing and the same boxes with a refacing. The only way to eliminate the odor is to replace your wood cabinets altogether.
  • Are more than 30 years old. Most solid wood cabinets last 30–40 years. They can last up to 50 when adequately cared for! So, if your cabinets are approaching the 30- to 40-year mark, you’ll likely need to replace them soon. That means the money to refinish or reface your wood cabinets may be better spent going towards new cabinets.

Want to Restore Your Old Wood Cabinets? Call Cabinet Coatings Today.

Schedule an appointment online or call us at 480-641-9611. We’ve been restoring wood cabinets in the greater Phoenix area for the past 30 years. Our finishing pros will talk with you about the kind of restoration you’re looking to make, then give you a free in-home or virtual consultation that same day. We’ll help you restore your old wood cabinets so they look brand new.

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co-owner
Chuck Derouen

For 20 plus years chuck has been helping homeowners make decisions on how to bring new life into their kitchens. Most homeowners know what they want but don’t know how to communicate it. When chuck does the in-home consultation he draws from the client and uses his expertise to help them bring their imagination to life (achieve the look they imagine.) Chuck dubs himself a “professional mind maker upper.”

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